What would you do if you knew you only had an hour to live? This intense, "eerily euphoric" (TheNew York Times) romantic thriller stars Anthony Edwards ("ER") and Mare Winningham (Georgia) in a frighteningly plausible stor... more »y that "yanks you by the lapels and draws you onto a high-velocity roller coaster" (Houston Post)! After 30 years of searching, Harry (Edwards) has finally met the girl of his dreams. Unfortunately, before they even have a chance to go on their first date, Harry intercepts some chilling news: WWIII has begun and nuclear missiles will destroy Los Angeles in less than an hour! Not sure if this is a prank or an omen, Harry races through LA, fighting angry mobs of terrified people in a desperate search for Julie (Winningham), the one person with whom he wants to spend the last moments of his life.« less
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 11/17/2011...
This is an amazing film that does a very effective job of creating a realistic nightmare. What would you do if you found out that WW3 had begun? This film is essential viewing for everyone who lived through the Cold war.
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Not Even Slightly Relaxing
absent_minded_prof | Massachusetts | 08/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""People always think they have so much time... to do all the things they'd like to do..." Years after seeing this film, that line is one of the main things that still sticks with me.This movie was an early effort by Anthony Edwards and Mare Winningham. The basic idea is of a young couple who has just started falling in love, and begun thinking of planning a life together -- only to find that World War Three has suddenly begun. Anthony Edwards is planning to meet Mare Winningham after work, which for her is about one o'clock in the morning. She works at one of those all-night coffee houses, in Los Angeles. He sets his alarm clock for midnight, and tries to catch a few hours of shut-eye before their date.The writer, or maybe the director (I'm not sure) did something really clever here. One of the film's characters absently throws away a lit cigarette butt, which, unbeknownst to the the character, gets picked up by a bird. The bird wishes to incorporate the butt into its nest, and does so. However, because the butt still has a slight spark left in it, the butt ends up setting the nest on fire. The small nest fire does not spread, but it does have the effect of burning through the insulation of the electrical wires upon which the nest sits. As luck would have it, these wires are the ones which supply Anthony Edwards' building with electricity. So when the power fails, so does his alarm clock, although he remains ignorant of the entire sequence of cause and effect behind this event... this little sequence makes us think of the many chains of events going on all the time, outside our own circle of awareness, which could eventually have some impact upon us. In the case of the bird with the cigarette butt, the result is that Anthony Edwards is three hours late to meet Mare Winningham, who of course has already gone home in a state of depression. However, the fact that he is late for their date has another chance result -- he happens to be standing near a payphone, right outside Mare Winningham's coffeehouse, when it rings. The caller is part of another, far more deadly unseen sequence of cause and effect, going on out in the world beyond L.A. We never find out the details of what has been going on in the place where the caller is calling from, (a missile silo), or the events in Washington and Moscow that led up to the random phone call. Unfortunately, the sequence in which the caller is playing a part seems to have come to a horrifying conclusion -- the caller claims that a nuclear war has been declared, completely unknown to U.S. citizens, in the middle of the night.Anthony Edwards isn't even sure if the phone call is real. Obviously it was a wrong number. Besides, perhaps someone is just playing a prank! Then again... perhaps someone is NOT playing a prank.A hyper-efficient, high-octane, female stockbroker, played by Denise Crosby, happens to be in the coffeehouse when Anthony Edwards staggers dazedly in. She assesses the situation, and decides to IMMEDIATELY hire a jet airplane to take her, and whoever can keep up with her, to the extreme southern hemisphere. (Radiation is expected to be a little less awful there, in most nuclear war scenarios). She behaves how people SHOULD behave in a situation like this -- efficiently, swiftly, decisively. But how many of her fellow mortals can live up to her excellent standards?The answer is, basically, none. Total panic engulfs the entire city in a matter of minutes, as news spreads about the phone call. Most terrifyingly, no one seems capable of doing the one thing that they must do, which is simply to drop everything and flee immediately. Everyone keeps thinking of that one more thing they "need" to do, before seeking shelter outside the city. Eventually... well, I'll let you see for yourself.This is a terrifying movie. For another film that is very similar, but even more graphic, I recommend that you look for the 1984 British TV-movie "Threads," witten by Barry Hines. "Threads" can be found on the British Amazon.com, or in online auction houses if you search for the two terms "threads" and "war" together, in the fields for VHS or DVDs. If you'd like some real, serious information about about nuclear war, (which hardly anyone seems to possess), try "The Cold and The Dark: The World after Nuclear War" by Paul Ehrlich and Carl Sagan, with a forword by Lewis Thomas. You could also read "Planet Earth in Jeopardy: Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War," by Lydia Dotto."
I need a miracle!
D. Roberts | Battle Creek, Michigan United States | 05/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I first rented this movie in the early 1990s I wanted to buy it, but it was out-of-print on VHS. I figured I would never be able to purchase it, but the world of DVD has changed that. Thankfully, its release on DVD is a very welcome addition to my cinematic library.
Anthony Edwards, best known for his portrayal of Goose in TOP GUN, plays an everyday guy. Mare Winningham plays an everyday girl. The two fall in love & look like they're well on their way to living happily ever after when their Romantic interlude is interrupted by a nuclear war.
There is nothing more heartbreaking than a terminally ill person who has only weeks or months to live. Situations like that bring out the best in all of us. We treat that person like royalty as we know they will not have a tomorrow; every moment counts.
However, in a grotesque world where EVERYONE is terminally ill, with only hours or perhaps minutes to live, things don't work like that. Instead what you end up with is anarchy & absolute mayhem. It is this snapshot of the death throes of a civilization that forms the centerpiece of this movie's plot.
The film has some very nice symbolism. I particularly liked the obvious parallel between the end of mankind and the demise of the dinosaurs. The scene of the two being trapped in the helicopter is a nice touch as well as it brings out the clausterphobic terror of a nuclear war. Quite simply, there IS no place to run to, and there is no escape.
At the beginning of the film, inside a museum of Natural History, there is a voiceover on a presentation of the history of the universe. A 15-20 billion year old universe, a 4 & 1/2 year old planet, sundry lifeforms that have taken millions of years to evolve. The film is noteworthy for how it makes one realize that nearly every species on earth could be wiped on in a matter of days.
While the Cold War is now over & terrorism is the new threat that has emerged to cause us all anxiety, this movie remains a classic. I cannot help but think that the human race is not "out of the woods" as far as a nuclear arms race goes. Someday there will likely be a country that will stockpile enough nukes to take the place of Russia as a nuclear weapons rival. If / when that happens, MIRACLE MILE will have more relevance to our day-to-day lives than ever."
Film was not shot widescreen, but 35mm open matte.
PEPPER'S GHOST | HIBERNIAN WASTES | 01/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good film but for those of you looking for a widescreen version of it you are wasting your time. Miracle Mile was shot in "academy square 35mm open matte" which is an aspect ratio of 1:37:1, not 1:85:1 or 2:35:1. 1:37 is close to TV's 1:33 ratio meaning that you are getting more of the image from the original camera negative on the DVD transfer than was originally shown in theatres which would have been cropped with black bars to 1:85 to suit theatre screens thereby losing some picture info.
But, nearly the entire film neg image is tranferred for the 4:3 dvd transfer. For theatre this film was cropped to 1:85 -so image info was actually lost in theaters for this film. This was the same procedure used for Kubrick's last 4 films -the 4:3 transfers are the full image. The film was shot basically like a T.V. film. The transfer is not a pan & scan, there is no need to p&s when the whole neg image is transferred, like on the original vhs.
There is almost no image loss.
Be happy with it."
The Night Before the Day After
Jeffrey Ellis | Richardson, Texas United States | 09/09/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Miracle Mile is one of those unique and savagely brilliant films that has never quite gotten its due despite seeming to leave an undeniable impression on just about everyone who has somehow lucked into seeing it. The low-budget film tells the story of an L.A. jazz musician (Anthony Edwards), a nice, mild guy who is lucky enough to not only meet the woman of his dreams (Mare Winningham) but to convince her to go out on a date with him later in the night. He is also unlucky enough to end up oversleeping and missing their date. Still, he drives out to the diner where they were supposed to meet on the slim hope that maybe she's stuck around for a few extra hours waiting for him. And while she hasn't, Edwards does arrive just in time to answer a pay phone and discover that, in just a few more hours, Los Angeles is going to be destroyed in the first nuclear strike of World War III. The rest of the film follows Edwards comically hapless yet touchingly sincere efforts to both reunite with Winningham and to get out of L.A. in the small amount of time he has before the bombs start falling. What starts as a hilarious comedy of errors becomes an all-to-realistic portrait of absurd tragedy as the film reaches it's unavoidable conclusion. The film's power comes from just how seamlessly the film handles the transition from comedy to tragedy (often times shifting between the two a couple of hundred times in the course of just one scene) -- a tonal combination that may, at first, seem like a contradiction but one that accurately reflects the feelings that many of us felt, during the Cold War, growing up with the constant possibility of sudden nuclear holocaust in the back of our minds. Director Steve DeJarnett handles the film with just the right touch, never going overboard on either the comedy or the pathos. Though she doesn't have much to do beyond being sweetly perfect, Mare Winningham proves herself to be the perfect actress for the job. In Anthony Edwards, DeJarnett was lucky to find the perfect leading man for his story. Long before ER made him famous, Edwards here embodies the elusive concept of the everyman. Neither a super hero or a total schlub, Edwards is totally winning and believable as a guy who is both unlucky in love and fate. Watching him, you know that he's not the type of action hero who can prevent a nuclear war but you also know that he's not the type of guy who's willing to allow the world to end without first finding true love. In short, he's just like you and that's what makes Miracle Mile such a powerful and affecting little film."
Karen Shaub | the inner reaches of the outer limits | 09/21/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"MIRACLE MILE is above all a love story; boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boys runs frantically around L.A. trying to get heavily sedated girl on an airplane bound for the antarctic. But perhaps I should start at the beginning as Harry Washello does when he tells his story of how he came to meet his perfect girl after 30 lonely years on planet earth, and I'm not kidding--he really goes back to the beginning. To the very dawn of creation in fact, 15 billion years ago when a tremendous burst of pure energy spread swirling clouds of star stuff that eventually formed the galaxies. I'll skip the next few billion years of planet formation, evolution etc to get down to the real business at hand--the day Harry met Julie Peters at the La Brea tar pits' museum. It was love at first sight, and it was in some ways both the best thing and the worst thing that every happened to them both.They spent the rest of the day together doing the type of things that only people falling in love in movies do; riding a carousel, liberating lobsters from a restaurant tank, and so forth. Later that night, when Julia got off her job at Johnnie's Diner, they planned to go dancing.
Harry goes back to his hotel to get some sleep before their big date, and before lying down he casually tosses a cigarette off his balcony. This one insignificant act will change the course of the rest of his life and hundreds of thousands of others. A bird carries off the still smouldering cigarette to use in its nest which then catches fire and knocks out the electricity in Harry's building. By the time the power is restored and his clock finally goes off, he is 3 hours late for his date with Julie. On the off-hand chance that she might still be there, he races off to the diner. His car bumps into a palm tree in the parking lot eeriely dislodging four or five rats onto the hood of his car. Out front of the diner the neighborhood psychotic is raving about whatever those guys rave about. The phone in the phonebooth is ringing. Julie is nowhere to be seen. She long ago went home to the condo she shares with her grandmother and took a nice heavy dose of valium.
In another one of those life altering twists of fate Harry winds up answering the ringing pay phone, and what he hears on the other end of the line sends him staggering into the coffee shop. The man on the other end of the line, Chip, was nearly hysterical. He thought he was calling his father, but it was obviously a wrong number--he had dialed the wrong area code. He had said that we had fired our missiles in a pre-emptive strike and that we would be getting it back in an hour and ten. He was talking about nuclear war! "Tell Dad I'm sorry about that summer!" And then there was a commotion, gun fire, and another voice came on the line and said, "Forget everything you just heard and go back to sleep." Only one person in the coffee shop takes what Harry has to say the least bit seriously, a regular patron named Landa, a woman who obviously has a bit of money and whose opinion everyone seems to respect. She asks Harry to repeat exactly what he heard, and its more than enough to convince her. She makes a few telephone calls of her own and then then announces that "4 out of 5 of her friends are in transit to the extreme southern hemisphere" which she finds more than a mere coincidence. Before you can say "make a plan" Landa is making one. And anyone who can keep up with her is welcome to go along. The plan? Meet at The Mutual Benefit Life Building and take a helicopter to the airport and then a plane to the antarctic where there will be plenty of snow for water, rainfall is negligible, and fallout will be at a minimum.With Landa's acceptance of the phone call as fact, chaos and panic breaks out in the diner.
Not everyone is buying all of this however. The local drag queen points out Los Angeles is crammed full of actors with insomnia and nothing better to do than pull elaborate pranks. Just exactly who is Landa, we and some of the characters wonder? Could she just be another part of a highly involved prank? Are we supposed to take her word as gospel because she dated a guy who worked for the Rand Corporation? It doesn't matter, everyone else believes her. She even has two people making a list of "great minds" who should be contacted in order to make the trip with them. Their highly dated list includes "Tom and Jane. Danny Berrigan and his brother, Bobby Seale, Harry Belafonte, Dick Gregory, and Oprah. Say, has anybody got their phone numbers?" They've all crammed into the diner's catering van, promising Harry that they'll pick up Julie on the way--which, of course, is a lie. So Harry bails out as they slow down on the freeway ramp and heads back in the general direction of Julie's condo--he can't leave his one in a million girl to die in a nuclear holocaust.
MIRACLE MILE is very simply the most frightening, touching, funny, thought provoking, romantic,(did I say frightening?) movie you are ever going to see. Writer/director Steve DeJarnatt has crafted a nearly perfect film that keeps you wondering up until the very end whether Harry is truly the harbinger of doom or the first victim of a horrible prank, a real life Chicken Little whose unwitting participation in a very sick joke will cause the death of countless numbers of innocent people. He's aided by a cast that can't help but elict the audience's immediate sympathies. Anthony Edwards plays the likeable, good natured Harry Washello who is very much the everyman, unable to control the events around him but determined to at least be with the woman he loves now that he has finally found her. Mare Winningham has that sort of oddball vibe that is needed for the role of a woman who can fall in love at first sight, and she is charmingly kookie as Julie. The only other characters of any real consequence are Julie's embittered grandparents (played by John Agar and Lou Hancock) who haven't spoken for 15 years but are as much in love as ever, and Mykel T. Williamson as a petty crook who named Wilson who gets caught up in Harry's nightmare via a chance meeting on a freeway ramp. Even the film's musical score by Tangerine Dream, which is something I ordinarily would never even notice much less mention, is exceptionally effective. It deserves special recognition for creating the tense and eerie mood that enables the film to succeed in hitting us where we live.
The ending of this film is beautifully constructed, it takes us right back to the beginning in every sense. Not only are we back in the La Brea tar pits, not only are we seeing the end of our own species as we saw the end of the dinosaurs and the mammoths portrayed earlier, we are also back to the beginning of Harry and Julie's relationship--back to the place where they first met, and maybe we are also back to the dawn of creation in a sense as well.
Trying to calm Julie who is hysterical as the helicopter sinks into the tar pit Harry says hopefully, "Maybe we'll take a direct hit! It'll metamorphosize us. Superman, he can take a lump of coal, he can squeeze it and make a diamond."